October 5, 2022
Your light-duty vehicle drivers are at risk of serious accidents and injuries due to OSHA violations. This also means that your company is at risk.
OSHA violations cripple your growth. They can even put a smaller business at risk of closure. OSHA can fine you $14,205 per violation, $14,502 per day that the violation is not corrected, and $145,027 per repeated or wilful violation.
If you have drivers, you need to put time and resources into preventing serious OSHA violations. Any effort you put into prevention will pay itself back double in reduced risk for OSHA violations.
With that in mind, we’ll cover the top five OSHA violations you should focus on and how you can work to prevent these for your fleet.
OSHA has a long list of standards that apply to motor vehicles and even more that apply to nearly every industry.
As a company with drivers, it’s your duty to learn these standards and comply with them. That being said, some of them deserve more time and attention than others.
You can greatly reduce your risk for OSHA violations, workers’ compensation, and employee injuries by focusing on the following five most common OSHA violations.
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The number one most common OSHA violation in 2021 was fall protection - general requirements. This standard doesn’t cover training (that is a separate standard), but rather focuses on equipment.
Fall Protection violations are usually the result of poor tie-off points, failing harnesses, or a lack of proper fall protection gear.
Depending on your industry, your company should pay close attention to this OSHA standard to avoid costly fines.
The second most common violation in 2021 was respiratory protection. These violations usually happen when a company does not provide its employees with proper personal protective equipment, such as dust masks or positive air respirators.
Read the standard to see how your fleet can comply with this rule.
Closely related to number one, the third most common OSHA violation is the ladders' standard.
OSHA requires employees use ladders correctly and in the proper locations. You can be fined if your employees go too far up a ladder, fail to use a ladder when they need one, or use a ladder in a place that is not safe to do so. Not only can these violations cost you money, but they can cost one of your employees or drivers their life.
In 2021, OSHA documented nearly 2,000 violations of improper scaffolding use.
Luckily, as a fleet owner or manager, this standard will likely not apply to you. However, it’s important to do some research to be sure.
The fifth most common OSHA violation is hazard communication. This applies to nearly every fleet in America. Even if you aren’t hauling hazardous materials, you likely have hazardous materials around your shop or facilities, such as motor oil, diesel fuel, cleaners, etc.
Fleets are fined by OSHA when they make mistakes such as not having a safety data sheet or failing to properly display hazard labels.
Even if you comply, there’s a chance your employees can make a mistake and get themselves sick or injured. This costs you tons of money in fines, workers’ compensation, and lost time.
Understanding what the most common OSHA violations are is important, but it’s not the end goal. You need to put time, energy, and resources towards preventing violations. Perhaps most importantly, you need to reduce employee risk for accidents and injuries.
OSHA-related injuries greatly increase your cost of loss and make it difficult to operate your business. If you’re able to successfully reduce your cost of loss, your efforts are netting you a positive return on investment. However, you must invest your resources wisely. Not all strategies are guaranteed to work.
Here are three things you can do to reduce your risk for OSHA violations and injuries.
As you probably noticed above, many of the most common OSHA violations happen when companies don’t have the right tools, policies, or procedures in place. You might be violating an OSHA standard without even realizing it.
The first step is to do your research. Figure out what OSHA standards apply to your business and learn what you need to do to comply.
Then, make a plan. You need to create and document your step-by-step guide on how you will comply with each OSHA standard. This plan should document:
Of course, you need to make this plan accessible. For example, a ladder safety plan doesn’t do anyone any good if no one sees it. Have these plans printed out and displayed in the necessary areas.
Two to three times per year, you need to conduct internal OSHA audits. The goal of these audits is to find issues and fix them before they lead to a fine or an injury.
To properly conduct these audits, the auditor should be either someone new each time or someone who is regularly inspecting equipment and procedures. It needs to be inconspicuous. Similarly, you should conduct these audits on random days. Don’t let anyone know when it’s going to happen.
During the audit, the auditor needs to document every violation he or she finds. This should be turned into a report with a plan on how to fix these issues.
Anyone who was breaking these rules shouldn’t necessarily be punished, especially if they didn’t know, but it’s important they are educated on the correct way to do things.
As important as the first two steps are, they’re worthless if you don’t train your employees on how to reduce risk and comply with OSHA standards.
To prevent accidents, injuries, and violations, you need to regularly train your employees on important subjects, including:
You can try to make these training courses yourself, but that takes time and energy. Plus, you aren’t guaranteed good results. Instead, you should consider investing in a program such as The Fleet Safety Course.
The Fleet Safety Course includes education on important injury & illness prevention topics, as well as OSHA violations.
By investing in a professionally-produced program, you can reduce your cost of loss and save yourself more than twice the cost of your investment.
Everyone dreads OSHA inspections and potential fines, but that’s not the worst thing that can happen. If you fail to meet OSHA standards and reduce workplace risk, your employees could be injured or even die on the job.
Employee accidents cost you insanely high amounts of money. Worse yet, they lead to pain and suffering that could have been prevented.
Remember our three-step plan for preventing OSHA violations: fix your policies & procedures, conduct internal audits, and implement OSHA safety training.
Start today before someone is hurt tomorrow.
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